As I typed the title to this blog post, I definitely hesitated. If Tunisia has won my delicate heart, then what has The Old City of Jerusalem won? It has and will forever have my soul. But this post is supposed to be about Tunisia. So I will stick to it!
I am here in Tunis interning at the World Organization Against Torture/Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture. I would have been here for THREE weeks this coming Saturday, and I can’t believe how fast time is flying. I am in the office a lot these days, but I have found it so ease to make friends. Everyone here seems so exceptionally friendly. How many friends have I made while simply waiting for the metro? A LOT! I am so grateful to be in this beautiful city – a needed break from Morocco. Just kidding ;).
I started off my first week attending a 3-day conference which highlighted the human rights violations committed in Tunisia during Bourguiba and Ben Ali’s respective regimes. I learned so much about transitional justice in three short days. Experts from Morocco, South Africa, Poland, and Portugal shared their own countries’ experiences with transitional justice and how Tunisia can benefit from their successes and failures. I was completely and utterly inspired! From talking to some participants at this conference, I have come to find out that Tunisia has undergone an aesthetic revolution, and many remnants of the old regime remain intact. It also became clear, by the emotional reaction exhibited by some audience members, that many people still feel the imperialist yoke around their necks. Some people pointed fingers to France, America, and Zionists for the current condition of Tunisia and the greater “Arab World”. (I put Arab World in quotes for a reason….a blog post about that is soon to come!)
The bottom line is that I love Tunisia, the revolution still isn’t over, and I have learned a lot more in three weeks about international law, human rights conventions, and transitional justice than I ever expected. The key is truly valuing the conversations one has with other people, allowing for conversations to transgress the superficial, and absorbing all that one sees, hears, observes.
Wishing you all a fantastic Thursday from Tunis!